Let's talk about leveling a cake - something I was completely oblivious to when I first started baking layered cakes. I'm not even sure how my cakes didn't completely fall apart without being leveled. It is such an important part of making a beautiful, sturdy cake.
First, make sure you're working with a chilled cake. It's much easier to cut and handle when it's cold. I've tried rushing to level a cake at room temperature and it's fallen apart. Don't do that to yourself. It will make you cry. If you're in a rush, cover your cakes with plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Once the cakes are cooled, level off the top of your cake. You don't want a mound or a sink hole. Make it even. Then, if you're making even more layers, you'll cut each cake in half.
Here are two simple methods to get even, leveled cake layers:
The first method is using a serrated knife and ruler. Place your cake on a turn table or a cake stand that's easy to turn. Next, measure your cake and find the midpoint for cutting. Start by making a horizontal slice at the midpoint on one side of your cake. Continue to make a cut at three other points in the cake, each at a quarter of the cake. Once you have all four points marked with a cut, you can start to connect them with your knife and eventually slice all the way through.
The next method is made easy by Wilton's Cake Leveler. This is truly as easy as it looks. Adjust the sides of the leveler to hit the midpoint of your cake. I like to hold the top of the cake with one hand, and shimmy and drag the leveler through the cake with the other hand. Make sure the two white edges of the cake leveler stay on the counter the entire time or you will end up with an uneven top.
That's it! Easy, right?